Dixie State hosting discussion about name change

Protesters against Dixie State University's name change gather on campus in St. George, Utah on Jan. 11, 2021. Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News.

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University’s Institute of Politics and Public Affairs is hosting a panel discussion surrounding the proposal to change the university’s name.

Dixie State Univeristy sign at the end of 300 East in St. George, Utah. July 16, 2015 | File photo by Devan Chavaz, St. George News

The discussion is set to take place at noon Thursday and will be moderated by Vince Brown, director of the institute.

The event will feature a balanced panel to reflect the university’s position, where the faculty stands, the student perspective and the questions and concerns that the community-at-large may have.

Panelists include Dr. Jordon Sharp, Dixie State’s vice president of marketing and communication; Dr. William Christensen, professor of business management and Faculty Senate president from 2020-21; Troy Blanchard, local attorney; Tim Anderson, local attorney; and Penny Mills, Dixie State student body president.

“At a time when our nation has difficulty discussing issues in a civil manner, I know that we in St. George can be better; a shining example of how to take a contentious issue and logically and reasonably work through it,” Brown said. “The institute has hosted many events on very difficult subjects, but found common ground. We focus on evidence and reason to help open minds, educate the community and get people to listen to one another.”

Protesters against Dixie State University’s name change gather on campus in St. George, Utah, Jan. 11, 2021 | Photo by Megan Webber, St. George News.

The discussion comes on the heels of the Dixie State Board of Trustees and Utah Board of Higher Education unanimously voting to recommend an institutional name change. The matter is now going before the Utah State Legislature, where a vote must take place because the institution’s name is in state statute. This fall, the university commissioned Cicero Group to conduct a study that examined the positive and negative impacts of continuing to include Dixie in the university’s name.

The pending dropping of “Dixie” has drawn some protest from community members.

In hosting this event, the Institute of Politics seeks to facilitate a civil discussion that explores the arguments in favor of and against changing the name “Dixie.” The institute’s events are designed to educate, inform and seek common ground through civil dialogue that explores the facts.

The discussion will be held at the Mainstage Theatre in Dixie State’s Dolores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center, with overflow seating available in the Gardner Center Ballroom. Seating is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, and doors open at 11:30 a.m. Dixie State students will receive priority seating, so online participation is highly encouraged.

The event will be live-streamed on the institute’s Facebook page at facebook.com/dsupolitics.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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